Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Quakers Consider: Love in Action

Photo by Colby Abazs
Quakers Consider...

Isaac Penington, 1667

Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.

Mildred Binns Young, 1961

It is said that one should never attempt the works of charity unless the motion springs from love in the heart.  But God can lead  us by more ways than one.  Some he makes ready before he sends them out; others he sends out that they may be made ready. 

William Penn, 1693

A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil that good may come of it. . . We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. . . . Let us then try what Love will do.

Wolf Mendl, 1974

What matters is living our lives in the power of love and not worrying too much about the results.  In doing this, the means become part of the end.  Hence we lose the sense of helplessness and futility in the face of the world’s crushing problems.  We also lose the craving for success, always focusing on the goal to the exclusion of the way of getting there.  We must literally not take too much thought for the morrow but throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the present.  That is the beauty of the way of love; it cannot be planned and its end cannot be foretold.

John Woolman, 1763

Our gracious Creator cares and provides for all his creatures.  His tender mercies are over all his works, and so far as his love influences our minds, so far we become interested in his workmanship and feel a desire to make use of every opportunity to lessen the distresses of the afflicted and increase the happiness of the creation.  Here we have a prospect of one common interest from which our own is inseparable, that to turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives
 

Quaker Trivia

Which U.S. President said, “I wish Congress were under the control of the Quakers”?

[Answer:  Bill Clinton in a 1997 commencement speech at Sidwell Friends School, where his daughter Chelsea Clinton was graduating.  He was expressing his appreciation of Quaker meeting for worship, in which people spoke only when “they had something meaningful to say.”]